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New Books from Oxford U Press, Spring 2000
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To Make Our World Anew
A History of African Americans
Edited by ROBIN D. G. KELLEY and EARL LEWIS
A major new history of African Americans in the United States--an attractively illustrated, engaging narrative written by leading historians
Written by the most prominent of the new generation of historians, this superb volume offers the most up-to-date and authoritative account available of African-American history, ranging from the first Africans brought as slaves into the Americas, to today's black filmmakers and politicians.
Here is a panoramic view of African American life, rich in gripping first-person accounts and short character sketches that invite readers to relive history as African Americans experienced it. We begin in Africa, with the growth of the slave trade, and follow the forced migration of what is estimated to be between ten and twenty million people, witnessing the terrible human cost of slavery in the colonies of England and Spain. We read of the Haitian Revolution, which ended victoriously in 1804 with the birth of the first independent black nation in the New World, and of slave rebellions and resistance in the United States in the years leading up to the Civil War. There are vivid accounts of the Civil War and Reconstruction years, the backlash of notorious "Jim Crow" laws and mob lynchings, and the founding of key black educational institutions. The contributors also trace the migration of blacks to the major cities, the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, the hardships of the Great Depression and the service of African Americans in World War II, the struggle for Civil Rights in the 1950s and '60s, and the emergence of today's black middle class.
From Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass to Martin Luther King, Jr., and Louis Farrakhan, To Make Our World Anew is an unforgettable portrait of a people.
784 pp.; 250-300 b/w & 16 color illus; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; 0-19-513945-3 May 2000 $35.00 (02) Tentative
How Long? How Long?
African-American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights
Offers the first study of the unheralded leaders of the civil rights movement
A compelling and readable narrative history, How Long? How Long? presents both a rethinking of social movement theory and a controversial thesis: that chroniclers have egregiously neglected the most important leaders of the Civil Rights movement, African-American women, in favor of higher-profile African-American men and white women. Author Belinda Robnett argues that the diversity of experiences of the African-American women organizers has been underemphasized in favor of monolithic treatments of their femaleness and blackness.
Drawing heavily on interviews with actual participants in the American Civil Rights movement, this work retells the movement as seen through the eyes and spoken through the voices of African-American women participants. It is the first book to provide an analysis of race, class, gender, and culture as substructures that shaped the organization and outcome of the movement. Robnett examines the differences among women participants in the movement and offers the first cohesive analysis of the gendered relations and interactions among its black activists, thus demonstrating that femaleness and blackness cannot be viewed as sufficient signifiers for movement experience and individual identity. Finally, this book makes a significant contribution to social movement theory by providing a crucial understanding of the continuity and complexity of social movements, clarifying the need for different layers of leadership that come to satisfy different movement needs.
An engaging narrative history as well as a major contribution to social movement and feminist theory, How Long? How Long? will appeal to students and scholars of social activism, women's studies, American history, and African-American studies, and to general readers interested in the perennially fascinating story of the American Civil Rights movement.
"Professor Belinda Robnett's book, How Long? How Long?, makes a valuable contribution to the field by providing a workable analytical framework for those scholars studying African American women in the movement." --The Journal of American History
"How Long? How Long? is a very impressive and theoretically rich piece of scholarship by sociologist and women's studies scholar Belinda Robnett. A chapter rethinking social movement theory and one on theoretical conclusions frame the book, with the rise of the civil rights movement in the South and its ultimate unraveling from below by 1966 marking the progression of Robnett's story. Most chapters add fresh insights to understanding the formal organizations, formal and informal leadership, and grassroots mobilization of the civil rights era. Robnett finds complex interactions and offers an exceptionally vivid and compelling specification of the way regional culture, race, gender, class, and education shaped leadership possibilities, roles, and experiences." --Carol Nackenoff in American Political Science Review
"Bound to be controversial, Robnett's How Long? How Long? challenges received perspectives on the role of gender in the Civil Rights Movement. In doing so she has made a major contribution to our understanding of the internal dynamics of social movements. It is both impassioned and impressive."--Mayer Zald, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan
"Belinda Robnett has made a unique contribution to our understanding of the Civil Rights movement and social movements generally. How Long? How Long? clearly demonstrates that gender mattered in the Civil Rights movement and that gender must be taken into account if we are to formulate accurate and comprehensive theories of collective action. This work is based on extensive research which gives voice to the masses of women who played pivotal roles in the Civil Rights movement. Finally a work has appeared that captures the monumental contributions women made to the Civil Rights movement. After reading Belinda Robnett's book, one comes to understand clearly that if it were not for the actions of Black women, there would not have been a Civil Rights movement."--Aldon D. Morris, Northwestern University
"This book rewrites the history of the Civil Rights movement from the standpoint of African-American women. Conceptually, this project joins a recent wave of scholarship in social movements that is beginning to address the intersections of race, class, gender, and social movements. Substantively, this book contributes a beautiful overview of Black women's long history of resistance to race and gender oppression in the United States...No one has ever undertaken such an ambitious project with respect to Black women's activism."--Verta Taylor, Ohio State University
Based heavily on interviews with the movement's actual leaders and participants
Presents a new theory of social movements, arguing that day-to-day organizers are as essential for success as charismatic leaders
272 pp.; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; 0-19-511491-4 2000 $17.95 (01) paper 1997 $35.00 (06) cloth
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Edited with an introduction by DEBORAH E. MCDOWELL, University of Virginia
A new edition of one of the most important documents in the history of American slavery
"I was born in Tuckahoe I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant."
Thus begins the autobiography of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) who was born into slavery in Maryland and after his escape to Massachusetts in 1838 became an ardent abolitionist and campaigner for women's rights. His Narrative, which became an instant bestseller on publication in 1845, describes his life as a slave, the cruelty he suffered at the hands of his masters, his struggle to educate himself and his fight for freedom.
Passionately written, often using striking biblical imagery, the Narrative came to assume epic proportions as a founding anti-slavery text in which Douglass carefully crafted both his life story and his persona.
This new edition examines Douglass, the man and the myth, his complex relationship with women and the enduring power of his book. It includes extracts from Douglass's primary sources and examples of his writing on women's rights.
176 pp.; 0-19-283250-6 2000 $8.95 (03) paper
Blackness, Race, and the Imagination
A fascinating look at the origins, development, and expression of racial identity in Western thought and literature
What is "race"? A biological fact, a social construction, or an assumed disguise? In Masks: Blackness, Race and the Imagination, acclaimed novelist and critic Adam Lively offers a brilliant exploration of how the concept of blackness has evolved in Western thought and literature, and how changing notions of racial identity helped to shape modern consciousness.
Lively traces ideas of racial difference to their earliest expressions in European culture, at the time of the Europeans' first encounters with African and American peoples, and follows these ideas to their current incarnations in contemporary America and the Caribbean. He explores the various and sometimes reversible ways in which racial identity has functioned as a mask: the pure white soul inside the black person; the primitive, dark soul ready to break through the civilized white veneer; the "invisible" black whose identity consists of projected white fears. Examining a wide range of works over the last three centuries--including slave autobiographies, sentimental romances, propagandist verse, natural history, jazz (which he calls "a music of disguises") and such 20th-century writers as Jean Genet, Joseph Conrad, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, John Updike, Eugene O'Neill, and others--Lively explores the fluidity of racial identity. He argues that the modernist concern with the uncertainties of identity and indeed that modernism's relativistic, ironic, pluralistic, and perpetually questioning characteristics are derived largely from black experience of a shifting sense of self.
Lucidly written and covering an enormous historical expanse, Masks uncovers the changing ways we have tried to understand the elusive and often illusory nature of racial identity.
304 pp.; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4; 0-19-513370-6 March 2000 $27.50 (02) Tentative
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